Law School Dean Search Narrows to Five

Senior Writers
The Cornell Daily Sun

Provost Biddy (Carolyn A.) Martin released the names of the five finalists for the position of dean of the Cornell Law School on Oct. 2 -- a list which included three University-based candidates.

The search committee, consisting mainly of faculty members from the law school, the provost and vice provost, started its discussions last spring after Lee E. Teitelbaum, the former Allan R. Tessler Dean of Cornell Law School, announced his resignation due to "compelling family reasons" last November.

The finalists: Prof. Stewart Schwab, law; Prof. David Wippman, law; Prof. John Siliciano '75, interim Allan R. Tessler Dean of Cornell Law School; Stephen Yeazell, David G. Price and Dallas P. Price Professor of Law, UCLA; and Bryant Garth, director of the American Bar Foundation, were selected after a period of evaluating external and internal nominations for the position.

"I was honored to have been chosen as a finalist," Schwab said. "I know each of the other four candidates. Each is impressive and would make a good dean for the law school. I am pleased to be in such good company."

Martin said that some of the features that the committee was looking for included administrative experience, ambition, character, scholarship and commitment to teaching and students. Although there was a vast variety of characteristics the group was looking for, members also understood that it would be difficult to find a perfect candidate.

"Of course, no candidate will have strength in all areas, so there are trade-offs," said Prof. Sheri Johnson, law, one of the members of the search committee. "Moreover, different committee members would weigh these qualities differently."

In the next step of evaluation, applicants undergo a two-day interview period on campus. Events include meetings with administrators and faculty members, deans of other University colleges and a conversation with President Jeffrey S. Lehman '77.

The external candidates, Garth and Yeazell, completed their on-campus interviews two weeks ago. The two-day interviews will conclude next Friday as Schwab is the last candidate in this part of the process.

"I had a great, if exhausting time and came away impressed with the administrative staff, faculty, and students -- all of whom asked some very tough questions about my background, my potential approach as dean at Cornell and even my research," Garth said of his visit.

According to Martin, the interview gives an opportunity for the faculty, students and staff to interact and send feedback to the committee about the potential replacements. In addition, the University also makes an effort to interest external candidates by helping them become more familiar with the institution through tours and various meetings.

Three unranked finalists will be submitted to Lehman after the committee reviews the candidates' credentials and their on-campus interviews. Martin said that they will assess the finalists on the same criteria which were used in the previous evaluation round. Lehman will personally select the new dean.

"The committee anticipates that its recommendation to the president will be made by the end of this semester," Johnson said.